New Zealand International Jesse Ryder has been called up by the St Lucia Stars for the upcoming T20 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), starting on August 4. He replaces South African batsman David Miller, who has been withdrawn from the squad due to his inclusion in the South Africa A side for their forthcoming 4-day series against India A.
He will be joined by fellow New Zealand team-mate Mitchell McClenaghan in the St Lucia squad, who replaces Sri Lankan seamer Lasith Malinga, due to play in the one-day series against India.
It marks the start of a busy period ahead for Ryder, with the Indoor Cricket World Cup also on the horizon in September. It is also his first taste of competitive cricket since his participation in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz back in March.
This being his first time in the CPL, he told RealSport he was looking forward to be back playing a high level of competition again. “It’s my first time so I’m really looking forward to it. I have been told it’s a great competition to be a part of and it will be awesome to get back playing with and against some high-quality players again”.
While Ryder has not played for New Zealand since 2014, he is still a much sought-after player in the T20 market, having played 133 games in the format. He has previously played a key role for the Essex Eagles in the Natwest T20 Blast in England over the past 3 seasons.
A destructive opening batsman, he averages just over 26 with an eye-catching strike rate of 147. And while he is not sure yet of his role in the side, in the absence of the hard-hitting Miller he may well be expected to fulfill that position at the top of the order alongside Shane Watson.
Ryder is also a more than capable medium pacer, with his 56 T20 wickets coming at less than 8 runs per over. The slow, low Caribbean wickets may well suit his style of bowling, much like his St Lucia skipper Darren Sammy.
McClenaghan, an aggressive left-arm paceman, was part of the winning Mumbai Indians side in the IPL earlier this year, taking 19 wickets. He has previously played 28 T20Is for New Zealand, capturing 30 wickets at an average of 26, and is accordingly seen as a wicket taking option in the lineup.
The Stars franchise commented that “Both Jesse and Mitchell are world-class players who will bring firepower to the squad in terms of both batting and bowling”.
From Outdoor to Indoor – preparing for the World Cup
We have previously reported on RealSport of Ryder’s inclusion in New Zealand’s 12-man squad for the Indoor Cricket World Cup in Dubai from 16 – 23 September.
The CPL will run from August 4 to September 9, and we asked Ryder whether this might affect his preparation for the World Cup, given the short time frame between the start and end of the respective tournaments. On the contrary, he sees the CPL as a nice run-in to the World Cup, giving him the right level of competition, while his current focus has been on the indoor event.
“It will lead in nicely to the Indoor Cricket World Cup. I don’t think it will be affected. I have been doing a lot of training leading up to the World Cup. I am gutted to be missing Nationals (New Zealand’s National Indoor Cricket Club Competition) in the first week of September as it would have been great game preparation leading up to the World Cup. But in saying that I will have time to get some training in once I get to Dubai”.
Ryder is also enjoying being back in the indoor cricket environment and representing New Zealand again. “It has been a good 7 years since I have played indoor so it has been really good getting back into it. Getting picked in the New Zealand team for the World Cup is awesome and it’s something I’m really excited about. It should be a great trip with a great bunch of lads and hopefully, all the hard work everyone has put in will pay off when we get over to Dubai”.
Professional experience added to indoor set-up
New Zealand Indoor Cricket Men’s coach Steve Hart told RealSport that he was very happy to see Jesse called up into the CPL and praised his inclusion in New Zealand’s indoor set-up. “We are always happy to see our athletes playing in high-quality competitive environments,” said Hart.
“Jesse comes in as a high-quality player in all three facets of the indoor game – bat, bowl, and field. Professional athletes have a more developed approach to touring and in handling our different conditions with some calmness. This will help the wider team focus on playing well”.
Ryder’s re-integration into the indoor environment is not a new development, as he has been involved in the game for some time. “Jesse has always stayed in touch with the indoor game and has played tournaments domestically when able to alongside professional commitments. From our perspective, it has been ideal in that he is not playing in the UK in the off-season this year, which has allowed him to participate in such representative tournaments”.
Ryder and McClenaghan are expected to fly out tomorrow, with the Stars kicking off the tournament, hosting former champions Trinbago Knight Riders on August 4.
How do you think Ryder and McClenaghan will fare in the Caribbean Premier League? Let us know in the comments below.
Want to share your opinion? Why not write for us?